Paul Weston, leader of the anti-Muslim party LibertyGB and leading figure in PegidaUK is currently across the Atlantic on a speaking tour of America and Canada. While there he is being hosted by leading anti-Muslim hate groups.
Tagging along is Jack Buckby the former BNP member turned press officer for both PegidaUK and LibertyGB.
On Thursday Weston spoke at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is the largest annual Conservative gathering in America.
While Pamela Geller, the anti-Muslim activist refused entry to the UK due to her extremism, has been banned from CPAC 2016, a number of other anti-Muslim hate groups have been allowed to attend.
Weston spoke on a panel called ‘Countering the Global Jihad’ alongside the prominent Danish anti-Muslim activist Lars Hedegaard.
Hedegaard is the founder of the International Free Press Society (IFPS), which is one of the most important international ‘counter-jihad’ networks and has championed the cause of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. He is also the co-editor of Dispatch International a paper he formed together with the Swedish activist Ingrid Carlqvist who was recently spotted going for drinks with Weston and Stephen Lennon in Copenhagen.
The panel in America was sponsored by the controversial Centre for Security Policy, a ‘think-tank’ run by Frank Gaffney which has recently been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (SPLC).
Frank J Gaffney is a prominent American ‘counter-jihad’ activist who hit the headlines recently due to his supposedly strong influence on Donald Trump’s openly racist comments about Muslims.
When Trump recently said that 25% of Muslims polled agreed that violence against America was justified as part of global jihad, and that 51% said that Muslims in America should have the chance to be governed by Sharia, he was quoting Gaffney’s discredited research.
Gaffney’s raison d’être is pushing the idea that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated its way into the American political sphere and he has written about the ‘jihadist vote’ in America and raised questions about President Obama’s birth.
Likewise, Trump’s comments about Muslims creating no-go zones in the US and the UK also appear to have originated from Gaffney while he has also been credited as the figure behind the idea of state and federal anti-Sharia laws.
The SPLC has produced a damning summary of the anti-Muslim rhetoric being displayed at this years CPAC, including a brief report of Weston’s comments.
Weston at ACT! for America
After CPAC Weston and Buckby are heading off on a speaking tour of America. On 7 March Weston is speaking at a closed event in Manhattan followed by another engagement in New York on 8 March being organized by ACT! For America.
ACT! for America is one of the most pernicious counter-jihadist groups in the USA. It is a single-issue, grassroots national security campaigning organisation. It is run by Brigitte Gabriel who at a 2004 ‘concert against terrorism’ at Duke University, referred to Arabs as ‘barbarians’.
Also, during a 2007 lecture to the Defense Department’s Joint Forces Staff College, she argued that practicing Muslims ‘cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America’.
Her anti-Muslim rhetoric is extremely conspiratorial. For example she told The New York Times: ‘America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America. They have infiltrated us at the CIA, at the FBI, at the Pentagon, at the State Department.’ She repeated this message on the ACT! website: ‘Tens of thousands of Islamic militants now reside in America, operating in sleeper cells, attending our colleges and universities. … They are here — today.’
After speaking at the ACT! event in New York Weston is heading north of the border to speak at an ACT! for Canada event in Montreal on 9 March.
The following evening he is heading to Toronto to address an event titled ‘The Threat of Radical Islamic Immigration and the Erosion of our Freedoms’ which is being organized by The Jewish Defence League of Canada.
The group is the Canadian branch of Jewish Defense League (JDL), which was established in 1968 by the late Rabbi Meir Kahane (1932-1975). The group has been described by the FBI as a ‘violent extremist’ organization.
The JDL has in the past organized a solidarity rally for Geert Wilders, hosted Stephen Lennon via Skype and in December 2015 hosted Robert Spencer who was banned from Britain for his views.
The North American tour concludes in Tennessee on the 14March.
This short run of events shows once again that while Weston has extremely little influence within Britain, he remains a well-known and influential figure on the international ‘counter-jihad’ scene. It also serves to reiterate just how transnational the counter-jihad movement really is.
For more information on CPAC 2016, including Weston’s appearance see:
Head of Research
Dr Joe Mulhall is Head of Research at HOPE not hate. Formerly he was a visiting lecturer at Royal Holloway, University of London where he also completed his PhD on the postwar far right. He has published extensively on the international far right and discussed his research on the BBC, CNN and Channel 4 News, among others. If you have a tip, get in touch at [email protected]Twitter